Also, how did China, which is very careful about issuing visas, issue two in stolen passports. Normal visa procedures require PRE-SUBMISSION of the passport, together with photos, etc. which is then reviewed, has a visa card pasted in, and is returned. That seems a very bold action with a stolen passport as it is a high level of scrutiny (not a simple visual check at an airport for 5 seconds) and traceable locations (given the return obligation). Also, how did they get the photos of two Iranians to match those of some Austrian and Italian guys?
Finally, if it was a 777-200ER (news reports say 777-200, Boeing's report page says ER), this is one of the longest range planes ever made. It can fly to almost any point on earth.
It seems someone now has:
- ~200 Chinese nationals;
- the ability to get anywhere in the world; and
- enough of an organization to land and conceal a wide-body passenger liner.